Sunday, November 04, 2007

CNU Transportation Summit 2007 (London)

I`m off down to London shortly to attend (and blog about) urban transport and planning. I have been doing quite a bit of reading recently about sustainable urban transport and design so i`m really looking forward to speaking to some of the people who are at the heart of this effort to plan more sustianable communities.

Looking at the agenda i`m particularly keen to see the Hans Monderman's presentation on shared spaces. This guy is a genius, there are many articles on his work but one in the Telegraph of London recently caught my eye.

Talking about removing traffic lights from...well, just about everywhere:

"It works well because it is dangerous, which is exactly what we want. But it shifts the emphasis away from the Government taking the risk, to the driver being responsible for his or her own risk.

"We only want traffic lights where they are useful and I haven't found anywhere where they are useful yet."

This sounds boardering on the insane but it really works:

Thus far, Drachten's drivers and pedestrians have voted the experiment a success.

"I am used to it now," said Helena Spaanstra, 24. "You drive more slowly and carefully, but somehow you seem to get around town quicker."

Tony Ooostward, 70, was equally enthusiastic. "Everybody is learning. I am a walker and now you are the boss at the crossroads, everyone waits for you. But at the same time pedestrians wait until there are a number wanting to cross at the same time."

Kanaan Jamal, 39, like many people in Drachten, uses a bike to get around. "It is very smooth — a lot better than other towns," he said. The consensus is that the creation of uncertainty by taking away the lights and even in some places the road markings has worked

"Anybody who is new here doesn't know what to do. They don't know who has priority, the car, bike or pedestrian. It's all confusing, but because of that everybody takes care," Mr Jamal said.

The flyer for the event describes it's purposes as follows:

At the invitation of The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, the annual CNU Transportation Summit 2007 will be hosted in London on November 12th - 14th. By bringing together key opinion formers from both sides of the Atlantic as well as the Middle East and Australia, we hope to promote a cross fertilization of the best advances in global transportation reform for cities. The summit will be an opportunity to learn how reforms can be delivered in the current economic and planning climate. We will explore questions such as: Against the background of a booming economy and increasing population pressures, London’s Mayor Livingstone has initiated a series of transportation reforms in the UK capital, including public realm improvements and Congestion Charging, that have brought about genuine modal shift, improving quality of life and promoting a vital urban environment. What are transport planners responsibilities to the carbon challenge, and how can emissions reduction be achieved? How can we use transportation as an opportunity to create and design urban places we want? Speakers: Hank Dittmar, John Norquist, Jacky Grimshaw, Norman Garrick, Marcy McInelly, Andy Cameron, Michelle Dix, Ben Hamilton-Baillie, Daniel Moylan, Hans Monderman and Lucy Gibson. We would be delighted to see you for this special CNU/ Prince’s Foundation event, an opportunity to share transportation reforms with a global network.

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